It would be tempting to give the whole Manor Farm team the ‘man of the match’ accolade for a complete team performance, scintillating at times, against Cadbury Heath from the Western League on Saturday. It was one of those satisfying days for a Manager when everything just ‘clicked’ and all the hard yards of pre-season preparation reaped their just rewards with a hatful of goals.
With barely ten minutes on the clock, some nice interplay between Lucas Vowles and Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist on the edge of the Cadbury Heath box saw Leigh-Gilchrist get a firmly struck lob away that although it took a slight deflection, always looked destined to find the back of the net.
Two minutes later the industrious Mike Bryant broke Heath play up well in midfield, releasing Jamie Bird who sent a great curling effort just over from 20 yards.
In the 23rd minute Bird went even closer with an audacious attempt from ten yards inside his own half, his Beckhamesque sweep beating the midfield, back four and keeper of Cadbury Heath only to bounce back off the post.
As the rain fell and the surface grew slippery, Liam Jacques in the Manor Farm goal produced an unorthodox but effective save with his feet from a long-range effort and some more good interplay between Leigh-Gilchrist, Bird and Vowles forced a corner for Farm up the other end. Bird swung the firmly hit corner into a central position where Aron Robbins was waiting to thunder a header home from close range.
Farm were playing with freedom now, a great fluency in their passing and soon went 3-0 up on the half-hour mark when Vowles pounced on a loose ball and raced away before nailing a sweet drive into the far corner, curling it just out of the advancing keepers reach for his first competitive goal for The Portwaymen.
Two minutes later it was two for Vowles and 4 for the Farm when the striker made room for himself on the right and pasted a great shot past the keeper from 20 yards.
Manor Farm’s fifth goal just before the break was maybe the best of the lot and came after some more great passing play. Bird, from a left back position, played a great ball down the channel to Vowles who held the ball up nicely with his back to goal whilst Bird sprinted forward to join him in the attack. When Bird got the lay-off return he then proceeded on a mazy run into the box, leaving Heath players floundering before slotting a low shot in at the keepers near post.
Vowles completed a great hat-trick ten minutes into the second half when he turned nicely in the box before sliding the ball home sweetly for number six.
In the 80th minute Bird, again, scored with a clever free-kick, superbly struck from 25 yards out on the left hand side that wrong-footed the keeper and sailed into the top left corner to make it 7-0.
The icing on the cake came with five minutes left when lively substitute Llewellyn Ntihemuka, after breaking down the right, sat up a sumptuous peach of a cross for the diving arrival of Stuart Tovey, the Farm left-back at full stretch, powering a header home at the back stick.
STAR MAN (Jamie Bird, Bristol Manor Farm)